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Untouched Hawaii: 4 little-known natural wonders of the Islands preserved forever



Waikamoi Preserve, Maui

The 5,230-acre Waikamoi Preserve is diminutive compared to the more than 100,000 acres of East Maui Watershed that surrounds it. The vast tract of watershed land—spread out across the windward flank of Haleakala—provides 60 billion gallons of water to the entire island. The preserve takes its name from a stream that runs through it.

Waikamoi’s koa and ohia forests shelter one of the most diverse forest ecosystems in Hawaii, the sole habitat for hundreds of native Hawaiian species. It’s also a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to 13 types of native forest birds, including the iiwi, apapane, amakihi and kike koa. Seven of these species are endangered.

What’s being done?

Like other Hawai‘i rain forests, invasive species and feral predators threaten Waikamoi’s delicate ecosystem. The Conservancy’s efforts go into controlling invasive plant life and replanting native flora. Workers have built fences around Waikamoi’s perimeter to keep pigs, goats and deer from damaging native plant life.

The Conservancy’s work has extended into the greater East Maui Watershed, which is owned by several public and private entities. Fortunately, everyone is cooperating. The Conservancy has partnered with the National Park Service, state government and private landowners to extend fence systems across land divisions and remove invasive weeds from the grounds surrounding Waikamoi.

How can I visit?

The National Park Service leads hikes along Waikamoi Preserve’s Bird Loop Trail every Monday and Thursday morning, and on the Boardwalk Trail (pictured) on the third Sunday of every month. While the tours are free, visitors with vehicles must pay a $10 access fee to enter Haleakala National Park en route to Waikamoi. For more information, call (808) 572-4459. In addition, rigorous volunteer work trips are held on the third Saturday of every month. For more information, contact Pat Bily at pbily@tnc.org.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
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Breathtaking Maui view to be forever green

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